Taking Care Of An 8-Month-Old Baby: All You Should Know
Children are a blessing to their parents, but also a source of anxiety. If you’re struggling with your little one, here’s how to watch over an 8-month-old baby.
Everyone knows that being a new parent means running low on sleep. But sleep deprivation isn’t the only challenge of parenting, and it’s tough to become an expert overnight.
When your little one reaches their eight-month mark, you might wonder, “Am I doing enough? Am I missing anything?”
Is your baby sleeping too much? Are they eating enough? What about their mental development? Is their brain being stimulated while they play?
While worry can wreak havoc on your emotions, these concerns are typical. To put your fears at ease, here’s a list of milestones that your 8-month-old baby should meet and some broader parenting tips.
How much should an 8-month-old baby weigh?
Every baby varies in height and weight depending on their gender, genetics, and more.
With baby boys, you’ll see a weight range between 17-22 pounds, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The weight range bounces between 16.5-21.5 pounds for baby girls. If your child falls within this spectrum, their growth should be right on track.
8-month-old baby height
A height of 28-32 inches is expected for baby development at 8-months, with some outliers. If you’re worried about your baby’s weight or growth, see your pediatrician or family doctor for clarity; they’ll have growth charts to compare your baby to.
Activities for an 8-month-old baby to stimulate their development
Life is exciting when you arrive at those 8-month-old baby milestones. Not only is your little one starting to grow, but they’re developing their motor skills and a stronger sense of their environment. Object permanence is now possible, and they’re taking everything in curiously.
Alongside these cognitive developments, your baby will start to express preferences for food and toys. They babble frequently and may even try out basic sounds that resemble words.
Because this is a crucial period for growth, you need to keep your baby’s brain stimulated with age-appropriate activities. Hopefully, your baby shower register had some great toys on the list to keep your child busy.
Ways you can encourage their mental development
Baby-safe toys that don’t fall apart when teething. A baby’s toys need to be entertaining, interesting to touch, and help your baby develop refined motor skills, like the pincer grasp.
Give your baby something fascinating to look at. 8-month-olds can gauge the world around them by this point, and they’re curious. Help your baby learn by encouraging that curiosity.
Engage your baby with words and sounds. Talk to your baby, play games with them (like peekaboo), sing to them, or play them music. Help your baby associate words with objects by naming them while you use them. Point to a flower and say “flower,” name their toys, and keep a playlist going when you aren’t playing to keep them stimulated.
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What can an 8-month-old eat?
At this stage, you’ll likely shift from a strict diet of breast milk or formula to a mixture of breast milk, soft fruits and vegetables, and purées. You can read up on the details of how much an 8-month-old should eat in this comprehensive baby food guide.
You’ll likely see exciting changes at mealtime. Some babies will dive into these brand new finger foods with relish while strapped to their high chair, and others may cling to their milk. In both scenarios, it’s just another indicator of their emerging personality and preference.
Remember, though, daily breastfeeding is necessary, even with the introduction of solid food. You cannot wean children before their first year.
Foods that are safe for your baby to eat
Unsafe food includes
Raw vegetables, especially carrots
Large chunks of meat or cheese
You should never leave your baby alone to eat — even if they’re enjoying their food. It can turn into a choking hazard.
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What should 8-month-old babies be doing?
Your schedule can feel incredibly hectic when you have an 8-month-old (soon-to-be 9-month-old). On top of caring for your little one, you have to deal with household chores and your own rest and relaxation needs. You can make activities for 8-month-olds less stressful in several ways:
For your ideal routine
Pay attention to your baby’s sleep pattern, and schedule your own day around theirs. Most children will be up for two or three hours before needing a nap.
When your baby is awake, center their activities around food and play to keep them engaged and their developmental milestones are on track.
Although it may seem like too much effort, exercising with your baby can keep them entertained and positively impact your own mental health. An example of some easy-to-manage activities includes taking your baby for a walk in the stroller each morning.
How much should an 8-month-old baby sleep?
While 8-month-olds don’t sleep as much as they did when they were newborns, your little ones will usually be tucked in for 14 hours per day. If you’re lucky, most of those hours will be at night.
This is the age where separation anxiety can kick in, and it may be challenging to convince your baby to sleep in the first place. Resistance from your child is normal. If they don’t see cause and effect play out, they may be scared that you’ll disappear for good.
To ease your baby’s anxiety, introduce them to a gentle routine before bedtime so they know that “bed” is coming and a good thing. When they wake up, make sure you’re attentive, so they realize that sleeping on their own is normal: you aren’t leaving them alone anytime soon.